FORNEY, Texas — The man who shot and killed Mesquite Police Department officer Richard Lee Houston II, of Forney, Texas, has been convicted of capital murder of a police officer and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
At approximately 1:40 p.m., on Friday, December 3, 2021, the Mesquite Police Department was dispatched to a disturbance in the parking lot of Albertsons, located in the 1500 block of South Beltline Road in Mesquite, Texas.
Houston was first to arrive at the scene of the domestic disturbance involving 38-year-old Jaime Jaramillo, his wife, his daughter, and a woman he was rumored to be having an affair with, according to testimony during Jaramillo's trial in Dallas County.
Dashcam and body-worn camera video played during the trial shows Houston approach Jaramillo's truck in the Albertson's parking lot while Jaramillo was attempting to back out of a parking spot. Jaramillo drove forward, placed the truck in park, opened his door, peered out and back towards Houston, and opened fire — striking Houston once in his bullet-proof vest, once in the leg, and once near his collar bone which ricocheted to Houston's heart and lungs before exiting his lower back.
Prosecutors say Jaramillo fired four shots before Houston was able to draw his own gun and fire four shots of his own. Jaramillo then turned the gun on himself and shot himself in the head, an injury he ultimately survived.
Houston's widow, Shelley Houston, testified at trial, describing Houston as a man of high integrity, morals, and character. The two were high school sweethearts and shared three children ages 19, 15, and 14.
"This was a senseless act of violence that ripped a loving father and husband from his family," stated Mesquite Police Department Chief David Gill stated a the time of the shooting. "He was a 21-year veteran of the Mesquite Police Department. He was a good man, a good friend, a good officer."
"With this verdict, we believe justice has been served and closure has been provided for the family of Officer Richard Houston and all of those involved in this tragedy," read a statement from the department following Wednesday's verdict. "Officer Houston’s legacy will live on at the department, and his life and service will continue to be celebrated."
Houston was hired as a Mesquite Police Officer on January 8, 2001, after graduating the Session 153 of the Basic Course in Applied Police Science as Valedictorian.
His assignments included serving in the Operations Bureau as a Patrol Officer, on the SWAT Team for more than 10 years, and in Criminal Investigations handling Burglary and Theft, Homeland Security, and Juvenile/Gang cases, according to the Mesquite Police Department. Houston also earned a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Master Peace Officer License and Instructor Proficiency Certificate.
His recognitions during his Mesquite Police Department career include:
- 48 Letters of Commendation
- 2 Life Saving Awards
- 1 Police Commendation Bar
- Citizens Police Academy Officer of the Month Award in August 2018